Google+ Stories Might Actually Make Photo Albums Beautiful (and Easy)

By Brent Rose on at

Raise your hand if you've ever gone on a holiday (or even to an event for a day), taken a bunch of photos, sworn you'll put them in an album for your friends and family to see, only to leave them languishing on phone or SD card for many months. I do it pretty much every time. Google+ Stories, a feature that begins rolling out today, might save us from that.

Stories takes any photos and videos that you upload to Google+ and it automatically curates them into a fluid, and rather beautiful, chronological photo album. It automatically pulls into data from geo-tags on photos, landmark detection, location history, and other photo analysis tricks to make Stories.

Stories can then select your best photos and video highlights (helps to eliminate blurry shots and duplicates), pull in the names of cities and places you went, show the restaurants/hotels/airports you hit along the away, and it can add slides for travel maps.You can flip through an example here, or watch a walk-thru below.

Yeah, Google+ isn't exactly everybody's go-to social network, but one of the best things about it has always been it's photographic prowess. Especially if you're an Android user, it's just the push of a button to have Google+ back up all of your phone's shots anyway. Google claims you will get notified within 24 hours of returning home from your travels if a Story is ready for you to view. You'll be able to edit, add additional photos and captions, and share it to anyone (even if they're not on Google+) via private or public links. And Stories are set to private by default, so no one will see your trip to that weird sex island you went to with your wife (until you've got the photos arranged to your standards of excellence).

The best news is that Stories actually look really, really good. They're far more visually interesting than your typical online photo album you have to click through while fighting to keep your eyes open. Stories will begin rolling out today on the web and for Android, and will hit iOS soon.

Oh, and bonus, Auto Awesome Movies are now coming to all devices. Basically, it's Google+ cutting together a quick video (set to music) of your adventures from your automatically backed-up content (or stuff you manually upload). They don't always include the absolute best moments you captured, but they're often fun enough to share, so yay for that. [Google+]